Venice is legendary for its canals, but it also deserves credit as the birthplace of one of the world’s treasured cocktails: the Bellini. We asked Francesca Nonino, the third generation of Italy’s artisanal award-winning Grappa Nonino (which is produced outside of Venice), to share her top spots for the perfect Venetian mix of cocktail tradition and innovation.
STOP 1 The Gritti Palace hotel bar delivers the ultimate Venetian drinking experience with its muraled ceilings, marble floors, gold-leaf accents, recessed booths and white-clad waiters. “If you have time for only one cocktail, have it here,” Nonino says. She loves the grappa-inspired Friuli Bellini, a deluxe concoction of Nonino Chardonnay Barriques Grappa and fresh white peach puree.
STOP 2 Any mention of cocktails in Venice would be remiss without including the Belmond Hotel Cipriani, which was founded by the inventor of the Bellini, Giuseppe Cipriani. The Cipri-Ami Martini may be its second-best claim to fame, with gin, mashed lime, wild fennel, fresh pear, star anise, Peychaud’s and cane sugar.
STOP 3 At Hotel Londra Palace’s Londrabar, head bartender Marino Lucchetti “is well-known for serving amazing traditional or with-a-twist cocktails from exclusively seasonal ingredients,” Nonino says. The Bellini Londrabar, with white peaches, is only prepared May to September, but he serves two riffs on the cocktail: the Rossini with strawberries or the Romantic Passion with passion fruit.